Development Phase Essay
In our group we started to develop the life of Billy Johnson and his triumph to becoming a war hero. Billy is an over confidante young man whom decides to join the war due to all the advertisement and belief form his father. Billy is convinced by propaganda that war will bring him loads of girls, fame and fortune and is gullible enough to take the risk and put his life on the line for un-thought of consequences. Unfortunately for Billy, little does he know that this decision will lead him to his cowardly death in the depth of the war.
In my group we focused on showing how serious war can be and how you can be extremely hyped up and all of a sudden, that hype is shattered at the sounds of bullets blazing overhead. We used many elements of drama to express and enhance our piece. We started off our piece by having the whole family at the dinner table and the father (Umar) hands out the notice to Billy (me). This automatically kick starts Billy’s thoughts of becoming a hero and makes himself believe that he is unstoppable. Billy’s mum (Zeynap) and his younger sister (Marion) are shocked at the thought of Billy going into war especially at a young age of 16.
This scene develops many emotions because the family are shocked but also disappointed at the father for filling Billy’s head with false hope. This starts off the reality of war because people don’t think about the casualties war can bring upon us. In Billy’s eyes it is a chance to become a real man and prove his mother and sister wrong that he can succeed and become a war hero. To show the different emotions flowing through each characters mind, we used thought tracking. We used this technique because we felt it is the best way for a character to express their feelings. Each member of the family expressed how they felt about Billy going to war so it was a good idea because the audience could get some information about the current mood of each character.
In the second scene Billy went over to his mate James’s (Umar) house to try and convince him to join the army as well. This scene shows how Billy is too over confidante at the thought of war and it makes James see that Billy has his head in the clouds. James tries to remind Billy how dangerous war can be but Billy is too consistent on becoming a war hero. After a matter of convincing, Billy eventually manages to get James to agree a chance to become famous and join Billy’s side on the battlefield. This scene shows how people can be peer-pressured into activities and how your friend’s word isn’t always correct than your gut feeling.
In the third scene we have Billy and James signing up for war. This scene was rather interesting because you can clearly see that Billy is really excited but James is rather doubtful at the thought of survival. Billy has to lie about his age to get signed up but it doesn’t really matter to Billy because his cockiness seems to get the better of him as he lies through his teeth. When he sees how nervous James is he decides to wait and encourage James to sign up.
Then as Billy urges James forward, James has a monologue, which explains to the audience that James only wants to help people, not kill them. I think that Umar played this part of the scene very well because he reaches out and really touch the audience with his emotions towards war. In the monologue James shows how he is scared and nervous about going to war and is really re-thinking signing up. Unfortunately for him Billy is too focused on getting them both to war so poor James doesn’t really have a chance to tell Billy his feelings.
The forth scene was a very intense scene. This scene takes place on the boat, which our brave soldiers are heading off to war. We introduce a new character in this scene. Matthew (Zeynap) is a rather brave and confidante character, mostly a resemblance to Billy. Matthew approaches the free seat next to James but is rudely told to go away by a very frustrated James. Billy lets him sit down and Matthew and Billy begin to talk about how Great War will be. Then suddenly James snaps back to reality and starts to state the obvious about how dangerous war can and will be. Billy tries to calm James down but to no avail. This scene was very affective because the scene was quite to start of with then James starts to shout and it livens up the tempo. As James exits the scene, both Matthew and Billy are left awkwardly deep in their thoughts.
In our fifth scene we were situated in a crosscutting dill-lemma. In one scene we had James and Billy back to back in the trenches showing how scared they were and how terrified they both looked. On the other hand we had the mother and little sister back at home thinking about the two boys and how reminding themselves how safe they will be. This scene helped to emprise our true emotions towards war and how war can literally make or break you. The family scene was focused on how positive the war will be and how both family members had full faith In Billy and his courage to succeed. The mother was reassuring the little daughter that Billy will be safe and he will come back a real man.
Then we go and look at the two boys in the trenches. You can see that both of them are terrified at the thought of war and will become emotionally depressed. We tried to use the technique of limiting words to try and make the scene more affective because the audience would see my the facial gestures that these two boys are really terrified and may regret the thought of joining the war. Throughout this scene it is clear the audience that everybody is human and even the strongest soldier can even get scared at the sight of men screaming and dieing before their very own eyes.
Our sixth scene was the most emotional and exciting scene. In the scene Billy falls to his cowardly death. We tried to make this scene as emotional and touching to the audience because they see the fear in Billy. This scene starts off by Billy asking his fellow soldiers, was it the right decision going to war. James shoots back at him by reminding Billy that this was all his idea and he should face the music. As the cornel (Marion) notifies that it’s time to shape up and head into the battlefield, every soldier holds their breath, and charges for what could be their last few minutes on this Earth. But then all the focus turns to a whining, shameless Billy Johnson.
After all his courage able talk, Billy whimpers in the corner of the trench, unwilling to charge. His cornel shouts at Billy and tells him to get up immediately. Billy refuses and back talks. This shocking coward ness form a soldier leads to Billy’s cowardly death. This scene proves to the audience that even the most cockily people can be overpowered by fear. It made me really feel for Billy as I played this scene because his father encouraged him that war will make him a hero. It made me realise that Billy was just a young boy trying to impress his family and make a small difference in this world. As Billy’s life ends, the next scene shows the after shock of this disgusting news.
Our final scene shows how the thought of never hearing a family members voice, touching their skin or even smelly their scent can make you wish death upon you. This scene was very emotional because you can see how upset and distraught the family’s reactions were towards Billy’s death. These sorts of moments will always be remembered as emotional crashes in out lives. It makes us realise that you got to hold onto and be grateful for what you have because you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
In this project I have learnt a lot about the affects of war, the ups and downs and most importantly the way the human mind functions. This play made me realise that not everything is as exciting or rewarding as it’s said to be and we should think fully through our decisions before we make them.